Jr. Sun Devils see ‘great honor’ in hosting Mite Jamboree
On the day from 7 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., the Desert Youth Hockey Association (DYHA) will host a Mite Jamboree event with approximately 200 players taking the ice in 4-on-4, cross-ice games with each participating team playing three consecutive 18-minute games.
Keeping with the theme of the season, the event is being labeled as the “Hat-Trick or Treat Mite Jamboree.”
The Jr. Sun Devils staff is amped up to host this prestigious Arizona Amateur Hockey Association (AAHA) event, which will also have appearances from the Arizona Coyotes’ mascot, Howler, and Sparky from Arizona State University.
“It is a great honor for DYHA to host this Jamboree as it allows the entire 8U hockey community to come together on one weekend to celebrate the game we all love,” said DYHA Mite Minor and Mite Major head coach Kayman Wong. “It really helps promote the sport to so many families and kids. Hockey in the Valley of the Sun is growing and the Jamborees are a great way to showcase and celebrate it.
“We focus on two things with our kids – skill development and growing their love of the game. When it comes to the Jamboree, it is a great opportunity for the kids to learn good sportsmanship, their competitive spirit and they all love to see how their skill compares to other kids in the state.”
Off the ice, DYHA will have a specialty coffee food truck called The Traveling Cup to help the parents with the early-morning wakeup call. The Vue/The Hub are the sponsors for the sling bag souvenirs and DYHA has also aligned with Spokes on Southern for an after party so families have a great place to gather after the Jamboree for lunch with 20 percent of the proceeds going back to the Jr. Sun Devils. There is also going to be a St. Mary’s food drive with all donating parties going into a drawing for a voucher for four lower-level tickets to a Coyotes regular-season home game. Coyotes signed memorabilia and another voucher for tickets will also be part of the event’s raffle.
“These Jamborees provide an environment where teams and/or individual players can test the waters to how they have come to develop thus far,” noted DYHA Mite assistant coach Shon Hata. “We hope everyone can continue to embrace how we come to love, be passionate, and reflect on the positive memories that keep us thirsty for more and continues to motivate to pass on our passion for the sport onto future generations.”
Both of the Mite teams’ managers, Tracy Blades (Major) and Jill Andersen (Minor), see the Jamboree as contributing to the continued growth of the game at the youngest level.
“I love how all the teams come together for a great day of fun,” said Blades. “Many of our players started out in one program or another. Some may still be with the originating organization and others may have moved onto another, yet no matter what organization one might be with, we all come together as a cohesive Arizona hockey family to support our kids and their love of the game.
“These events teach life lessons, to come together and work as a team and supporting one another on and off ice. It is about sportsmanship with respect of your coaches, teammates and opposing team members, but most of all about having fun and getting out there, trying your best at something you love to do.”
“The Jamborees are a wonderful way to connect with other hockey teams and hockey families,” added Andersen. “It is exciting to travel to other rinks and feel pride in our team and our program.”
— Matt Mackinder